“Women Honored in the Holy Quran” – Pearls of Guidance Juz’ 28 Certainly, has Allah heard the speech of the one who argues with you, [O Muhammad], concerning her husband and directs her complaint to Allah . And Allah hears your dialogue; indeed, Allah is Hearing and Seeing. (58:1) Khawlah bint Tha’laba RD lived during the Prophet’s SAW time in Medina. She was married to Aws ibn As-Samit RD. One day they had an argument. Aws divorced her by “Thihar,” a pagan custom of divorcing a wife by saying, “Be to me as my mother’s back.” This custom was degrading to women. It freed the husband of his responsibilities towards his wife and kids and prevented the wife from remarrying. Khawlah RD visited the Prophet (pbuh) to seek guidance about her situation. When he advised her to be patient, she felt compelled to pray to Allah (swt) for more guidance. Allah responded to her prayer by revealing the first four verses of Surah Al Mujadila, “The Pleading Woman:” Certainly has Allah heard the speech of the one who argues with you, [O Muhammad], concerning her husband and directs her complaint to Allah . And Allah hears your dialogue; indeed, Allah is Hearing and Seeing. Those who pronounce thihar among you [to separate] from their wives – they are not [consequently] their mothers. Their mothers are none but those who gave birth to them. And indeed, they are saying an objectionable statement and a falsehood. But indeed, Allah is Pardoning and Forgiving. And those who pronounce thihar from their wives and then [wish to] go back on what they said – then [there must be] the freeing of a slave before they touch one another. That is what you are admonished thereby; and Allah is Acquainted with what you do. And he who does not find [a slave] – then a fast for two months consecutively before they touch one another; and he who is unable – then the feeding of sixty poor persons. That is for you to believe [completely] in Allah and His Messenger; and those are the limits [set by] Allah . And for the disbelievers is a painful punishment. (Holy Quran, 58: 1-4) Aisha RD recounts the story in the following sahih hadith: “Blessed is the One Whose hearing encompasses all things. I heard some of the words of Khawlah bint Tha’labah, but some of her words were not clear to me, when she complained to the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) about her husband, and said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, (ﷺ) he has consumed my youth and I split my belly for him (i.e., bore him many children), but when I grew old and could no longer bear children he declared Zihar upon me; O Allah, I complain to You.’ She continued to complain until Jibra’il brought down these Verses: ‘Indeed Allah has heard the statement of she who pleads with you (O Muhammad) concerning her husband, and complains to Allah” (Sahih Ibn Majah). Khawlah’s RD complaint was supported by Allah. The unjust custom of Thihar was banned.

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